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Environmental Review Toolkit


Meeting Environmental Requirements after a Bridge Collapse
This report is intended to assist transportation and environmental professionals in the event of a bridge collapse or similar emergency. It analyzes the environmental review process in five cases of bridge reconstruction following collapse in Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. The report describes how the key elements of the environmental review process in the cases reviewed were completed comparatively quickly. It finds that when emergencies occur they create a sense of urgency on the part of all stakeholders that leads to a consensus on the prioritization of the project. This report identifies several effective practices that allowed sponsor agencies to expedite the environmental review process. They include

  • Implementing processes and agreements that lead to regular dialogue among state and federal transportation and resource agencies and establish strong working relationships before emergencies occur;
  • Limiting the scope of projects to reduce the potential for new environmental impacts or disagreements;
  • Using contracting mechanisms that offer opportunities to quickly respond to emergency situations;
  • Maintaining up-to-date inventories of historic, cultural and natural resources to quickly identify the potential impacts of proposed designs;
  • Establishing formal and informal emergency procedures that clearly identify roles and the environmental review process; and,
  • Networking with peers from other states.

Virtual Public Involvement (VPI) Practices in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) – Case Studies Final Report
Public involvement is a critical component of the transportation decision making and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) processes. Increasingly, State departments of transportation (DOTs) and local public agencies are providing, and the public is expecting, virtual options to enhance engagement during the transportation decision making process. Virtual public involvement (VPI) was particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many localities limited or canceled in-person events due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. As a result, State DOTs adapted their approaches to public involvement, relying on a hybrid combination of in-person and virtual public meetings and hearings to engage stakeholders. State DOTs have continued utilizing virtual approaches to public involvement even as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have been relaxed. The COVID-19 pandemic offered an opportunity for State DOTs to experiment with virtual strategies during public hearings and expand their use during public meetings.

The case studies are intended to showcase how various States utilized a hybrid approach to public involvement (virtual and in-person components) or virtual-only approach (supplemented with traditional outreach methods like mailings and newspaper ads) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The case studies present various approaches to VPI across the United States and provide information on successful VPI approaches and challenges, outreach methods for underserved populations, and lessons learned.

The series profiles the public involvement efforts on eight projects from eight different States. The final report summarizes VPI practices and lessons learned from all eight case studies.

Programmatic Mitigation Planning Guidebook: Improving Environmental Outcomes and Transportation Delivery
This guidebook offers information on developing and implementing programmatic mitigation plans to assist transportation and environmental practitioners with impacts of future transportation projects, including at regional and landscape scales. The intended audience includes planning and project development staff from State Departments of Transportation, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, county transportation departments, and other transportation entities that can benefit from advance mitigation preparedness to facilitate future projects.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Reviews of Tolling and Road Pricing Projects – Case Studies
The case studies provide information on the state of the practice regarding the NEPA reviews of tolling and road pricing projects through a diverse group of examples throughout the United States, showcasing at least one project from each region. The case studies highlight notable practices in six key areas: meaningful public involvement, environmental justice, multimodal travel considerations travel forecasting and traffic impacts, Planning and Environment Linkages (PEL) or tiered NEPA reviews, and environmental analysis. The case studies highlight a diversity of types of pricing projects and level of NEPA documentation.

The 2015 Red Book, Synchronizing Environmental Reviews for Transportation and Other Infrastructure Projects
This handbook is a “how to” for synchronizing National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other reviews and includes techniques that can facilitate better review synchronization. The tools in this handbook support more efficient and concurrent review processes.

Successes in Stewardship Newsletter
Celebrating 16 years of publication, this newsletter provides insight into practices or programs nationwide that successfully promote environmental stewardship while also expediting project delivery. Each issue features practicable examples that readers may be able to implement in their own communities.

Roadside Best Management Practices that Benefit Pollinators: Handbook for Supporting Pollinators through Roadside Maintenance and Landscape Design
This document describes best management practices (BMPs) for design and maintenance practitioners. It includes summaries and examples of pollinator-friendly BMPs that transportation agencies can use to improve the quality of roadside habitat for pollinators.

Pollinators and Roadsides: Best Management Practices for Managers and Decision Makers
This document describes best management practices that transportation agencies can use to establish and improve roadside habitat for pollinators. Pollinator-friendly roadside management practices can reduce roadside operational costs, improve ecological outcomes, and benefit local and regional economies.

Strategies for Accelerating Multimodal Project Delivery
This workbook is intended to help transportation agencies and practitioners identify top strategies for accelerating multimodal infrastructure delivery. It describes thirteen key strategies that have been used effectively to accelerate multimodal projects—those intended to serve bicyclists and pedestrians—and provides examples and case studies for each.